One of the hardest parts of being is a parent is knowing how to deal when your child gets angry — especially if you’re the reason why they’re upset. Some of us might yell, or turn the situation into a power struggle where both of you end up in tears. Managing tough parenting situations on the fly is never easy, but one dad has given us a great example of the right way to calm down an angry child.
When Randy Gaines started having a deep chat with his daughter about emotions and personal boundaries, his wife Deceena grabbed her phone and hit record. “I think I just watched and listened to one of the most powerful conversations in my life,” she said of the video. She submitted the clip to the Facebook page Love What Matters, where it’s gathered over 3 million views from people who are super impressed with this dad’s parenting skills.
Gaines tells Scary Mommy his six-year-old was upset about him calling her “Miss Buttons.”
“We have a relationship where we like to joke and laugh with each other, so I called her ‘Moody Moose Buttons,’ after her favorite Sweet Pickles kids book. We were getting ready to go for a walk, when I couldn’t find her. So upon looking for her, I found her in her bedroom pouting. I asked her to use her words, and she said she was mad. Eventually, if you can hear our conversation, she said she was angry because I called her that,” he says.
Instead of getting upset with her, he took the opportunity to teach a lesson on dealing with emotions. “We discussed feelings, healthy ways to deal, and boundaries,” he tells us.
He starts out by telling her that her anger is valid, which in a world where women are still told to “smile” on the regular is so important for young girls to hear. “You don’t always have to be happy, you don’t always have to be silly or funny,” he tells her. “But the important thing is, whenever you’re feeling [emotions like] this . . . you want to accept it, you want to honor it, you want to acknowledge it, and then let it go.” He also reminds her that even though she shouldn’t let her anger get the best of her, it’s perfectly okay to be mad sometimes. “You can be mad. You can be mad at me, you can be mad at Mommy, you can be mad at your sister, you can be mad at yourself,” he says. “Just don’t hang on to it for too long because that’s when it gets to be a problem.” Forget being a great lesson for little kids — this is a good reminder for adults too
Gaines’ daughter listens as he gives her some suggestions for how to deal when she’s feeling frustrated (Feel free to grab a pen and jot these down to use with your own kids). “You can stomp, or yell, or punch a pillow,” he says. When his daughter explains she didn’t care for him calling her “Miss Buttons,” he’s quick to honor her feelings rather than dismiss them. “It’s important to talk about it so that I know that’s your boundary and I respect it, and I won’t push past it, OK?” he says. “I respect you and I respect your feelings, and if it’s not OK to joke with you today, I won’t do it. Just let me know so that I don’t do it, because if I don’t know better, I can’t do better.”
We’re giving this dad a standing ovation. The lessons he’s teaching his daughter in how to handle her emotions and own her own boundaries will serve her well not only as a kid, but for years to come.
“I fell in love with him before we had our girls, but moments like this make me fall even more in love with him,”Deceena wrote in the video’s description. “No yelling. No screaming. Talking. Discussing emotions and why we have such feelings. HEALTHY outlets (walking, running, punching a pillow, etc) … Getting down to the root of the problem. Setting boundaries, because feelings were upset. RESPECTING boundaries, to ensure it doesn’t occur again.”
Gaines tells us, “My wife was filming and no one knew, until after she posted it. So she captured a very candid, intimate, personal moment. I was almost upset, until I saw some of the comments on her original post. If the video helps even one person, then it’s worth it.”